Question by kisskissblam8o8: How long does the film editing process take?
Answer by Enygma
The length varies depending on the production.
It is often said by several top name Hollywood directors that the editing room is where the film is actually made, and not with the script and shooting itself.
Therefore, many times big productions like “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Star Wars” and etc. will actually not finish editing all of the footage they shot until as close as one week to one night before the movie actually premieres and opens to the public.
One the other hand smaller independent films will usually wrap up their editing process fairly soon after completing shooting on location.
However, there are several factors that influence the editing process and the end result of the movie the general public sees. One of the biggest is the way that test audiences respond to the ending of a movie which is why studios often test movie endings in different locations it will be playing and then poll the audience to see which ending they like best. Then if the ending is realistic and true to the movie and the director will often select that ending for the final print they think will appeal to most people realistically.
However, another factor has to do with censorship and how that will weigh on the movies rating, which subsequently means the audience it will attract which equates to dollar signs.
However, the most influence has to do with directors vs. studio executives and financial backers.
For instance, if the director really likes a certain ending but the studio executives who are producing the movie request them to change it, the directors/writers of the movie will often change certain aspects of a film so that they do not upset their current and potential financial backers so that they can continue to get work and operate peacefully in the movie industry without getting labeled as difficult.
One instance where the director/writer won against studio heads that has proven the correct decision is “The Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise. Initially studio executives vetoed the idea of Johnny Depp starring as Captain Jack Sparrow because he seemed too controversial in their opinion. Nevertheless, after Jerry Bruckheimer was relentless in his protest the studio executives finally gave in to his decision to cast Depp and as a result Disney and Bruckheimer have a multi billion dollar franchise on the hands due to the success of all three films and the subsequent merchandise deals.
Nevertheless, to bottom line your question typical films aim for a length of between two hours to two and one half hours in length which is another component that influences the editing process. That is why editing can be so challenging because determining which elements to leave in and which to remove in order to have a successful film is very individual to each film and there is no perfect formula to determine how to achieve this.
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